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IAEA urges 8k8 777nations to be vigilant over nuclear risk

爱情里被第二选择的人 | 8k8 777 | Updated: 2024-06-18 19:20:11

The logo of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is seen at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria on April 11. [Photo/Agencies]

The increased use of nuclear science and technology around the world means nations must improve their nuclear security to safeguard radioactive material against theft and sabotage, the co-presidents of the planet's largest nuclear security conference have warned.

Tim Watts, Australia's assistant minister for foreign affairs, and Sungat Yessimkhanov, Kazakhstan's vice-minister of energy, delivered the warning at the International Conference on Nuclear Security, or ICONS, gathering organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA.

They told delegates from more than 130 countries and territories gathered in the Austrian capital Vienna that emerging risks mean it is crucial countries do all they can to protect their populations against the threat of nuclear terrorism and other malicious acts.

Watts said: "Our attendance at ICONS, a key event for our global nuclear security community, signals our shared commitment to strengthening nuclear security. It provides an opportunity for us to progress aligned commitments and priorities and to work closely on our respective national nuclear security regimes."

Yessimkhanov added that, "despite some risks and challenges, from climate change and natural disasters to global pandemics, AI products and advanced computing technologies offer new opportunities to strengthen nuclear security regimes".

"Strengthening national nuclear security regimes helps to prevent the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive material," the minister added.

The co-presidents said better nuclear security measures would not only improve safety but enhance public confidence in the peaceful use of nuclear applications.

Nuclear technology is now prevalent in many areas of our lives, from energy production to life-saving radiotherapy treatment for cancer patients, they said in a joint statement, and is even crucial in the production of new crop variations through the use of irradiation technology.

But they said nations and territories must remain vigilant against people wanting to use radioactive material from those various applications for malicious acts, and the protection of computer systems controlling radioactive materials is now paramount in the face of increased risks from cyberattacks.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the IAEA, said: "The many benefits from nuclear applications depend on a strong and adaptive global nuclear security regime and laser-focused vigilance. Groups with malicious intent must not be given a chance to use nuclear and radioactive material to cause panic or harm."

The IAEA's ICONS conference, the largest nuclear safety gathering on the calendar which has attracted around 2,000 delegates, began on Monday and is set to end on Friday.

Such a gathering is held by the IAEA every four years to improve laws and regulations around nuclear security and to compare best practices.

The conference will also feed into the IAEA's next Nuclear Security Plan, which will cover the years 2026 to 2029.

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